Notification Content and Behavior

Content of incident notifications sent via email, SMS, phone call and push

PagerDuty sends notifications to on-call users when an incident is assigned to them. These notifications are most commonly sent when an incident triggers or escalates. Depending on your account’s features, users may also receive notifications when they’re added as a responder or subscriber, or when a conference bridge is added to an incident.

PagerDuty can send notifications via the following channels:

📘

Configure Contact Methods and Notification Rules

This article details the content that is included in various PagerDuty notifications. For more information about adding contact methods and configuring notification rules, please see the following sections in the User Profile article:

Email Notifications

Source: PagerDuty sends email notifications from [email protected].

PagerDuty ActionSubject LineBody
An incident triggers and notifies the on-call user- One incident assigned: “[PagerDuty Alert] You have 1 TRIGGERED Incidents ([4cb96])”
- If the user is assigned multiple incidents, PagerDuty will bundle incident notifications into one email: “[PagerDuty Alert] You have [3] TRIGGERED Incidents ([db97d])”
“Hello [user name], you have [#] open incident(s) assigned to you:
- [incident number]
- [incident title]
- [View Incident link]
- [conference bridge details] (if applicable)
- [incident status]
- [incident urgency]
- [user(s) assigned to the incident]
- [trigger date and time]
- [service name]
- [escalation policy associated with the service]
- [email body]*


* This will be the same as an incident’s Details field.
A user is added as a responder to a new incident“PagerDuty response requested by [user][user] requested your response: Please help with [[incident number]] [incident description] [link to PD incident]
A user is added as a responder to an existing incident“PagerDuty response requested by [user][user] requested your response: [custom message] [link to PD incident]
A user receives a Status Update to an incident that they are assigned or subscribed to“[PagerDuty Status] [incident status]: [incident name][user] updated
- [incident number]
- [incident title]
- [trigger date and time]
- [service name]
- [user(s) assigned to the incident]
- [View Incident link]
- [incident status]
- [status update]
- [View Status Page link]
A user is about to go on call (On-Call Handoff Notification)"[PagerDuty] [user name] is going on call for [escalation policy] (Level [X] - [schedule name])""[user name] is going on call for the following escalation policy in 1 hour:

Escalation Policy: [escalation policy] (used by X services)
Level 1 ([schedule name])
[date and time]
Override here: https://subdomain.pagerduty.com/schedules/PXXXXXX"

Rich-Text/HTML Email Notifications

Users can administer whether they’d like to receive rich-text or HTML notifications on their user profile in the web app:

  1. Go to User Icon My Profile Contact Information tab.
  2. In the section Email, click next to your desired email address or Add Email Address, depending on whether you’d like to edit an existing email or add a new one.
  3. Make a selection in the checkbox next to Send HTML Emails.
    • If this option is unselected, PagerDuty will send email notifications in basic text.
13261326

Enable or disable HTML Emails

  1. Click Save.

Here is an example of a PagerDuty HTML email notification:

12541254

HTML email notification

Here is an example of a PagerDuty text-only email notification:

17501750

Text-only email notification

When you receive a PagerDuty email notification, the incident’s Details section will be truncated after 500 characters. You can include clickable links in this truncated message. The rest of the email body is accessible either in the web app, on the incident’s details page, or in the mobile app.

PagerDuty removes attachments from email notifications and incident logs. To view the original attachment, please refer to the system that sent the original attachment.

SMS Notifications

Source: PagerDuty sends SMS notifications from a predefined list of phone numbers.

PagerDuty ActionBody
An incident triggers and notifies the on-call user“ALRT [incident number] on [service name]: [incident title] Reply [#]: Ack, [#]: Resolv”
A user is added as a responder to a new incident“PagerDuty #[incident number] ([user]): Please help with "[[incident number]] [incident description]"
A user is added as a responder to an existing incident“PagerDuty Alert. #[incident number] ([user]): [custom message] Reply [#]: Accept, [#]: Decline”
A user receives a Status Update to an incident that they are assigned or subscribed to"[user] has published an update to incident #[incident number]: [custom message]"
A user is about to go on call (On-Call Handoff Notification)"Went on call on [date and time] for escalation policy [escalation policy] (Level X - [schedule name])."

PagerDuty SMS notifications are truncated to meet the 160-character limit for text messages.

Here is an example of a PagerDuty SMS notification:

552552

SMS notification

If multiple incidents are assigned to you, then PagerDuty will bundle all notifications into one SMS notification, listing out the incident numbers and giving you the option to acknowledge all or resolve all incidents at once.

Phone Notifications

Source: Variable numbers from the PagerDuty Vcard.

PagerDuty ActionRecorded Phone Message
An incident triggers and notifies the on-call user“You have [#] triggered incidents on [service name]. The failure is [incident title]. Press [#] to Acknowledge, Press [#] to Resolve, Press [#] to Escalate, Press [#] for help or Press * to repeat this message.”
A user is added as a responder to a new incident“PagerDuty Alert. [user] requested your response. Please help with [[incident number]] [incident description]. Press [#] to accept the request, Press [#] to decline the request"
A user is added as a responder to an existing incident“PagerDuty Alert. [user] requested your response. [custom message]. Press [#] to accept the request, Press [#] to decline the request”

Please read our Live Call Routing article for more information on how Live Call Routing messages may be formatted.

Push Notifications

PagerDuty ActionBody
An incident triggers and notifies the on-call user“ALRT [incident number] on [service name] [incident title]
A user is added as a responder to a new incident“PagerDuty [incident number] ([user]): Please help with "[[incident number]] [incident title]"
A user is added as a responder to an existing incident"[user] requested your response. [custom message]"
A user receives a Status Update to an incident that they are assigned or subscribed to"[user] has published an update to incident [incident number]: [custom message]"
A user is about to go on call (On-Call Handoff Notification)"Went on call on [date and time] for escalation policy [escalation policy] (Level X - [schedule name])."

Here is an example of a PagerDuty push notification:

750750

Push notification

Notification Bundling

When a user is assigned to multiple incidents, PagerDuty will bundle notifications into a single summary message in an effort to reduce alert fatigue and distractions. All notification methods (email, SMS, phone and push) support notification bundling. Bundled notifications will include information about all triggered incidents (i.e., not acknowledged or resolved).

The following examples assume a service named “Nagios-Shopping-Cart” has triggered five incidents within the previous minute. Here is what bundled notifications would look like for each notification method:

Email

You are assigned 5 triggered incidents in PagerDuty:
Please visit the following URL to manage these incidents.
https://fake-name.pagerduty.com/dashboard

1) Incident #100
   Opened on: Jan 1 at 12:00pm PST
   Service: Nagios-Shopping-Cart
   Description: Emergency in the server room
   Link: https://fake-service.pagerduty.com/i/100

SMS

ALRT: #100,#101,#102,#103,#104 on Nagios-Shopping-Cart. Reply 14:Ack all, 16:Resolv all

Phone

You have 5 triggered incidents on Nagios-Shopping-Cart. Press 4 to acknowledge all incidents. Press 6 to resolve all incidents. Press 0 for help or press * to repeat this message.

👍

Minimize Notifications

You can reduce the overall number of notifications that you receive by adding a delay to your notification rules. For example, adding a few-minutes delay will allow more time for incidents to aggregate, and you can expect to receive fewer notifications during periods of high incident volume.

Respond to Incident Notifications

Respond to an SMS Notification

When you receive an SMS incident notification, you will be prompted to Ack, Resolv, or Escal8 it. While the specific code you receive for each action may vary, Ack will always end in 4, Resolv will always end in 6, and Escal8 will always end in 8.

The following example assumes there is an incident on a service named “Signal Sciences”:

471471

Acknowledge an incident via SMS notification

Respond to a Phone Notification

Similar to SMS notifications, you can respond to phone notifications to acknowledge, resolve or escalate an incident.

An example phone notification states: PagerDuty Alert: You have one triggered incident on Signal Sciences. The failure is “Check outside normal range - Warning”. Press 4 to acknowledge. Press 6 to resolve. Press 8 to escalate to the level 2 on call, User 2 .

Enter the appropriate number on your phone’s keypad to take one of the following actions:

  • Acknowledge
  • Resolve
  • Escalate
    • This option is available if there is another level in the service’s escalation policy.

Respond from the Mobile App

For more information about taking action on incidents in the mobile app, please see Respond to Incidents in the Mobile App.

Respond to an Email Notification

Responding to an email notification to acknowledge or resolve an incident is not supported. We recommend using one of the following methods to take action on an incident: